For the last year or so I have noticed a trend in the church I attend. Offense. Hurt feelings. Division.
People that I have gone to church with for years are gone from Sunday morning worship. Even relatives, whom I would have never believed would leave the church are gone. I hear that this family has gone here, or that family gone there, but many have not permanently found a church home.
This morning my pastor's wife came to the Prayer Room and we cried and prayed for those we no longer see. The sorrow was heavy. How can you spend years with a family, go through births and marriages and deaths, and one day look over and they are gone. How do you find peace in that situation?
I searched my Bible this afternoon and a verse hit me square in the face. 1 Corinthians 11:19 says: "But, of course there must be divisions among you so that you who have God's approval will be recognized!" Wow. My desire to be right and your desire to be right is what brings division. How sad that what we each want becomes more important than what God wants, which is for His children to love one another. To prefer the other above ourself. God promises that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church, but that probably won't be necessary because we will destroy the church from within.
Several years ago I read a book called 'The Bait of Satan.' It was a book about how Christians fall for offense and let it seperate them from the church. I hear people teel me every week how they don't need to go to church to be saved. You are right, only the blood of Jesus does that. But Christ Himself instituted the church. It is His body on this earth. That is not something a man thought of, but a concept brought into existance by a Holy God. Argue with Him about the church. Or ignore what He says. We still have free will. It doesn't mean it is always right, though.
The thing is, division, which divides, seems to be multiplying. Those concepts do not go together. What is going on church? Why are we accepting this believers? Let's do what God tells us to do, pray. Pray for that family that you have been missing. Pray for believers who are hurt to be restored to the body of Christ. Pray that no offense overtakes me or you. Pray that it will be more important to us to do what God says than what we feel.